Report 44/2007: Derailments at London Waterloo

Two derailments at London Waterloo, 2006.


On Monday 11 September 2006 an empty South West Trains service was moving into Waterloo south sidings at low speed when it derailed on a set of points. These points had recently been subjected to unplanned maintenance.

On Tuesday 24 October 2006 a South West Trains service from Dorking to Waterloo derailed on a different set of points on the approaches to Waterloo. These points had also recently been subject to unplanned maintenance. Again, the derailment happened at low speed and there were no injuries. Some signalling and electrification equipment was damaged in the incident, and services from Waterloo were affected for several days while repairs were undertaken to the affected points and others exhibiting similar defects.

The immediate cause of both derailments was the condition of the switch blades within each set of points. These exhibited known derailment risks which had not been identified by the routine inspection process or by detailed inspections following maintenance activity. There were four causal and 13 contributory factors to the derailments.

There were six underlying causes to the derailment, which covered records management, understanding of standards and their requirements and inadequate track access for checking points.

RAIB has made fourteen recommendations as a result of these incidents. These are aimed at:

  • the standards and guidance relating to points inspections
  • the training of inspection staff
  • the communication of information arising from inspections
  • track access
  • the management of sub-contractors.

Response to recommendations:

  • RAIB will periodically update the status of recommendations as reported to us by the relevant safety authority or public body.
  • RAIB may add comment, particularly if we have concerns regarding these responses.

RAIB Recommendation response for London Waterloo 2007

Published 10 December 2014